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Her Name Is Rose: Book summary and reviews of Her Name Is Rose by Christine Breen

Her Name Is Rose

by Christine Breen

Her Name Is Rose by Christine Breen X
Her Name Is Rose by Christine Breen
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2015
    304 pages
    Genre: Novels

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About this book

Book Summary

People used to say Iris Bowen was beautiful, what with the wild weave of her red hair, the high cheekbones, and the way she carried herself like a barefoot dancer through the streets of Ranelagh on the outskirts of Dublin city. But that was a lifetime ago.

In a cottage in the west of Ireland, Iris - gardener and mother to an adopted daughter, Rose - is doing her best to carry on after the death of her husband two years before. At the back of her mind is a promise she never intended to keep, until the day she gets a phone call from her doctor.

Meanwhile, nineteen-year-old Rose is a brilliant violinist at the Royal Academy in London, still grieving for her father but relishing her music and life in the city. Excited but nervous, she hums on the way to an important master class, and then suddenly finds herself missing both of her parents when the class ends in disaster.

After the doctor's call, Iris is haunted by the promise she made to her husband - to find Rose's birth mother, so that their daughter might still have family if anything happened to Iris. Armed only with a twenty-year-old envelope, Iris impulsively begins a journey into the past that takes her to Boston and back, with unexpected results for herself and for Rose and for both friends and strangers.

Intimate, moving, and witty, Her Name is Rose is a gorgeous novel about what can happen when life does not play out the way you expect.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. A poignant tale of love and loss between an adoptive mother and daughter...Breen's characters immediately invite the reader to go on a heartwrenching journey that's enhanced by her skillful plotting and authentic, lyrical descriptions of the Emerald Isle. A moving first novel. - Publishers Weekly

"A warmhearted and poignant story. Fans of Maeve Binchy will appreciate this witty story of family, acceptance, and the power of belonging." - Booklist

"Breen's emotional tale is perfect for fans of complex novels...There are more than several surprises, which keep the engaging plot moving freely, and our admirable heroine, Rose, teaches us exactly what the scent of a woman is all about." - RT Book Reviews

"In this lyrical debut novel, Christine Breen weaves a tale about the ties that bind - biological, legal, emotional - and the many varieties of devotion. The story moves fluidly from the west coast of Ireland to London to Boston and back, stopping in gardens and museums and concert halls along the way, accumulating characters who live and breathe and teach each other how to love." - Christina Baker Kline

"Christine Breen creates an emotional story that tenderly explores the depth of a mother's love. You will root for her characters as they lift you up with their compassion and goodness." - Diane Chamberlain

"This is a novel that will appeal to Anne Tyler fans. Christine Breen has a lovely feel for language and great affection for her characters. There's something humane and kind about the way she writes, which is a great quality. It's hard to do 'nice' and Breen does it very well." - Jane Harris

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Reader Reviews

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Katherine D. (Rochester, NY)

Her Name Is Rose
When I settle in with a book, I always hope to gain access to new places and ideas, or the ability to look at the familiar in a new way. Her Name Is Rose is your ticket to just such experiences.

Rose is a gifted teenage violinist studying at the prestigious Royal Academy of Music in London. Her adoptive mother, Iris Bowen, is compelled by circumstance to track down her daughter's biological mother. This search takes us on a fascinating journey from Ireland to London to the US and back.
Music,from classical to regional folk music to modern jazz, serves to connect the various richly developed and sympathetic characters on both sides of the Atlantic. This is a wonderful adventure, not to be missed.

Christine (Wisconsin)

Great read!
I enjoyed this book very much; as the mother of an adopted daughter, I could identify with many of Iris's feelings. Her efforts to find Rose's birth mother were admirable, and took her far out of her comfort zone. All of the characters were well drawn, and it was interesting to see how their lives came to intersect. I think book clubs would enjoy the book, and find many things to discuss in it.

Doris K. (Angora, MN)

Her Name Is Rose
This is an interesting story of a complicated Irish family. The beginning seems to be rather depressing. In the first two pages Iris loses her job and is apprehensive about a mammogram. How she deals with all of this is developed to make a good family story portraying the love of parents for their children. There are enough "twists and turns' to keep the reader interested and see how all the characters fit together.

The author is skilled at portraying how a person feels at any given moment. On page 191 "the energy rising in him, like a tornado, was so intense he had to move so as not to fall" is one example of many descriptions which keep the reader's interest.

A Book Club would be able to have a spirited discussion about some of the decisions made by the characters. Overall this is a good read.

Mary Lou F. (Naples, FL)

Family Ties
What a wonderful cast of characters interwoven in each others lives. Hated to see the story end. Would love to see a sequel written as there are many more stories behind these characters.

Harriette W. (Raleigh, NC)

Her Name Is Rose by Christine Breen
This first novel has me eager to read Breen's next one! Contemporary Irish village life, master class at the London Royal Academy of Music, an offbeat Boston neighborhood seem an unlikely mix. But a loving adoptive mother, Iris, and her talented violinist daughter, Rose, heal from their loss and weave the connections. Iris's expertise in gardening is shared with the reader. Rose's violin brings us Irish jigs as well as classical knowledge. This beautifully written tale with its mysteries revealed along the way had me cheering for Iris and Rose as the story reached its satisfying conclusion.

Heather F. (Louisville, KY)

Savor the scent of this rose
This is a beautifully written story of a mother's love. And there are many types of motherly love. This was especially relevant to me due to a recent family member's diagnosis with breast cancer, as I suspect many readers are touched as well. Breen writes as a relatable, close friend and that can be good or bad depending where you are in your own story. But don't miss it. Well worth the read. Adoption and illness are heavy subjects and this somehow lightens them.

...24 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Christine Breen

Christine Breen was born in New York and educated in Boston and Dublin, where she received an MA in Irish Literature. She is an artist, homeopath, gardener, and mother of two children. She lives in Kiltumper, Ireland with her husband, the novelist Niall Williams, in the cottage where her grandfather was born. Her Name is Rose is her first novel.

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